Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary

Ipswhich, MA
The Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary is part of the Mass Audobon Society. There are 12 miles of trails to explore where you can enjoy feeding wild birds, exploring beaver dams, and rock formations. 


3.25 Miles

Hike Time

1.5 Hours

It is hard to believe that yesterday we were enjoying a mild 55-degree afternoon at The Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary at Bradford Hill in Topsfield and today the temperature dropped and we are in the middle of a nasty snowstorm. 

We’re newbies to this Mass Audubon property and had to jump on the internet to get a visitor’s pass to park – but it was worth the $12. The property is well laid out and has a visitor’s center and play areas for kids. No dogs are allowed because of the birds.

Yes, you must have a mask on while you are on the property. I think I have mine on backward - the first hike with a winter coat.

The beavers have been very busy building this lodge over the top of the boardwalk.

David feeding a chickadee some birdseed. They fly right down into your hand. I said, "I sure hope one of those mallards doesn't decide to come over for a snack!"

The property is beautiful, especially “The Rockery”. It would be fun to come back in the spring and rent a canoe. Most of the trails were easy to navigate, although it was very wet along the Waterfowl Pond Trail – yes, I did fill my hiking shoes.

 Beavers can live to be 25 years old and weigh as much as 60 pounds!

Wealthy horticulturalist Thomas Proctor, who owned the land now covering the Ipswich River Sanctuary, created his own arboretum on the Topsfield property which included “The Rockery” and a grotto filled with exotic plants and trees. 

This is part of the Rockery grotto area. It took Italian workmen over 9 years to complete the project using just “simple block-and-tackle technology, ramps, and sturdy scaffolding.” The large boulders used for the project were carried by horse and wagon from Rowley & Byfield in 1902.

Support the Cape Ann Community Foundation


Show your love for Cape Ann and give back to the communities you call home by purchasing a Cape Ann license plate!

All proceeds to go to supporting the area’s local non-profits!